“Our project has been massively impacted by the coronavirus, as the majority of the work we do is out in the community. We have five women from the Traveller Community employed as primary health care workers, and their role is to deliver health promotion initiatives to the Traveller Community.

“The Traveller Community has been greatly affected by the pandemic and the lockdown. Families have struggled to obtain PPE and hand sanitiser, as well as being able to manage self-isolation measures due to the larger family units and overcrowded conditions many of them live in.

There are also more demands on families to manage weekly shopping budgets and access services due to restrictions and social distancing, and as a result of all of this, the impact on their mental health has been quite severe. The older generation are particularly at risk and isolated as they don’t have access to social media and are unaware of supports and services available to them.

“The Extern Hardship Appeal has been a big help in terms of getting hold of vitally-needed PPE and hygiene supplies, which we were able to distribute to the most vulnerable Traveller families in Cavan. Many of them have been afraid to leave their homes, and were so grateful to receive support and know that there are people out there willing to help.

“We were also able to reach out to some of the older generation, and this has been the most rewarding part of the Hardship Appeal, to know that we could make a difference to them at this worrying time. We couldn’t be more appreciative of the Appeal and what it has helped us to do for people and are very grateful for each and every donation we receive. It is making a massive difference for people who are vulnerable at this time.”

For details on the project, visit www.extern.org/traveller-primary-health-social-care